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Article ID: 11259

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Section: holidays

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Are Holiday Decorations and Spending A Cloak for Guilt?

Author: Rhiannon Keneally
Posted: November 26th. 2006
Times Viewed: 2,645

When I see decorations for Yule well before Samhain, Iím always frustrated because each year the stores push harder and harder for your hard earned money when itís not necessary. Each year we spend millions on decorations, cards, and other useless stuff that we have out for a week or two, then put away in storage or throw out until next year.

Donít get me wrong though. I love the holidays with the crisp bite in the wind, the leaves turning colors and falling, and, of course, the snow. I just would like to see appropriate decorations for the holidays.

Itís not only the really early decorations that bother me either. What about the actual holidays? People tend to forget the true meaning behind these holidays. Each year you run like crazy in the overcrowded stores and malls trying to find the ďperfect giftĒ.

Why find the ďperfect giftĒ? The holidays arenít for spending money that many of us donít have and spend years paying back the credit card companies. Its about love and family and friendship. Right?

I mean, children are told that the true meaning of Yule (Christmas to others) is not in the gifts that we give, itís the family and love we have. It sounds like something a child would believe, but, as adults, we need to remember itís not a corny kidsí belief. We canít forget it in the holiday rush by trying to find that ďperfect giftĒ. It shouldnít be about the gift, but the thought and the giving.

What about the other holidays? Yule may be one of the most thought of and expensive holidays (with buying presents and candy and decorations and making food), but what about the other holidays that everyone, including many Pagans, forget? There are other important holidays too. Most, however, are forgotten in the rush to remember to give someone else the most expensive or biggest or shiniest gift.

Even Iím guilty of making Yule lists and purchases long before the actual holiday. Does that mean I, or anyone else, should forget all the other holidays or let them slid by in favor of the ďbiggerĒ one?

I think that there are too many important holidays other than Yule to forget. Each one comes once a year, just like Yule, and each has its own importance and purpose.

Samhain, the Esbat closest to Yule, is supposed to be the Pagansí new yearís day. Ostara, the Esbat after Yule, is Spring, telling us that Winter is over and that the planting season, and the light, has returned.

There are many other holidays, some high and others minor, but each one has a different importance from one Pagan to the next. For me, Samhain is more important than Yule. Perhaps itís because I was born in the autumn and thatís my favorite season, but Samhain might not be as important to the next Pagan or Witch. It might be Mabon or Beltane.

While we do all this shopping, remembering, or forgetting, where in this picture do the God and Goddess fit in? We remember everyone else in the family and people from the workplace or in school, but what about our spiritual end? Where does the God or Goddess fit in? Do we forget them in the rush and just add them to the list of people to buy presents for?

Can we even buy presents for the God and Goddess? Not to offend anyone, but Iím sure they wouldnít mind. Itís the thought that counts, right? If we do give them something material, how would they receive it? Can we even give them something physical to remember them?

I think this material purchasing for the God and Goddess to remember them is more for people to alleviate their guilty consciences for not celebrating their chosen path or for thinking that the God and Goddess donít hear them and want something to impress them so that they do get noticed.

Iím sure itís nice to buy something new for the altar or special corner for them, but do we really need to buy anything? Iím sure they can see us just fine and understand us without new ritual tools or fancy spells and what we really mean or want.

Even if you do the fancy rituals with lots of people in a coven, do your intentions get forgotten with the large number of people? Even if you arenít the leader of the coven or a priest or priestess, do you really think that the God and Goddess donít know anything about whatís in your heart because you arenít as important or high-ranking as the leaders? It is the thought that counts, not the presentation.

The point Iím trying to make with all of this is do we really need the new toys or knick-knacks or TVs that relatives and friends give us each year? Do we need all of the fancy decorations that we purchase only to be put away for eleven months out of the year? Do we forget the other holidays in favor of Yule? Do the God and Goddess hear us even if we feel unimportant?

I donít think we need all of this fancy food and decorations and the big, shiny, brand-new-out-of-the-box gifts. Sure, itís nice to see family and some of the stuff you receive may be thoughtful and useful, but what about the true meaning of the holidays? We just donít need all that stuff. This stuff is only to prove whoís got a bigger flat screen TV for Yule or whoís got the best holiday decorations in the neighborhood. Itís all material goods that donít matter to the God or Goddess or anyone.

Itís all an excuse for us to buy something for someone because we donít see or think of him or her during the rest of the year. Itís nice to be remembered, but I donít think we need to go overboard with it. Just pick up the phone or send an email Ė we have the technology to get in touch with anyone if we try.

As for remembering the God and Goddess, it would be convenient for us to send an email or text message, but thatís not reality. A small prayer or just sitting for five minutes outside thinking of them is enough.

We donít need the fancy tools and prayers to be heard.


Rhiannon Keneally

Location: Worcester, Massachusetts

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